Tuesday, March 20, 2018


 The mower is back!  Or as I more commonly call it, for those new to the blog, my "Zen Machine".  

It was time for its annual maintenance.  They have free pickup and delivery and then we pay for them to check everything out, oil and lubricate parts, change filters and oil, etc.  

This time they found that the engine belt was cracked and the tensioner posts were worn out.  They also replaced the battery and battery terminals.  

It's worth it to get it good every year.  They even detail it and get it looking brand new.

They delivered it back to the house and I left work early to go out and move it into the shed.  Then I decided why not go ahead and mow, it was cool and the weeds were tall.

I was low on fuel, but had some in a can in the shed.  I started mowing the front yard and around the barn and house.  Above you can see the progress during the front.  While the sea of white flowers (weeds) was pretty, it's time again for nice, green grass. 

It looks so nice and serene when it's done.  Here is looking from the porch toward the driveway. For some reason, it's so calming to see the grass mowed.  I still need to edge but didn't have it in me that day.  I had to get a jump on the rush hour traffic.

Also have a new fun thing connected to mowing that I'll have to post about the next time. 

Mowing season is back!

Monday, March 19, 2018


Right on schedule (well delayed by a day but more on that in a bit), we were able to get the garden planted for this Spring.  

A couple of weekends ago I got the beds emptied of weeds and added compost and soil so that they were ready for the next part...

Then we planned out where the irrigation would go...

And lastly we planned out what we wanted to plant and where... 

Last weekend I bought the plants (and a few more yesterday on the way out) and we babied them in town until we could get out there and plant. 

"R" from 2nd Family spend the day Saturday getting out water fixed up.  He replaced a six foot long section of pipe under the house and added a new faucet to the back of the house to make it easier to water the fruit trees in the backyard.  So we figured it was easier to stay in town and make sure we had everything together and stay out of his way.

Sunday I got the plants in the ground, the water set up and...

All the straw mulch put down (this stuff is amazing for weed prevention and keeping the soil moist).  I watered it all by hand just to give the new plants and soil a good soaking (no rain forecast this week). It was a bit windy so the straw was blown around on the ground but I'm guessing by next week it will be gone with the wind. 

Raised bed garden 2018
And here it is, done!  Planted, watered, mulched and, hopefully, growing.  I told 2nd Man we just have to close the gate, drive away and have faith!  

After all, isn't gardening always just an act of faith? 

Saturday, March 17, 2018



Baby donkey and Mother
2nd Family told us to be on the lookout for this new addition ("J" sent this picture to us to let us know).  The family next door that has the goats and donkeys and cows, well, they have now have one more...a new baby donkey was just born Thursday!  

 Could this possibly BE ANY CUTER?  

I hope to get some good pics (if I can find the Mom and baby) when I go out tomorrow to get the garden planted and set up.

Today was garden center day and finalizing the preparations for the garden while "R" from 2nd Family is fixing the broken water pipe that we lost in the freezing weather.  It's a safe bet THAT weather is over for at least 8 or 9 months.

2nd Man thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and he will take over the comments later and reply to all.

He's been feeling a bit under the weather, it's all the pollen in the air here, OMG it's horrible this season.

So he's self medicating...by baking, LOL!  A cheesecake is in the oven as this posts. 

Friday, March 16, 2018


I just wanted to share with you all that today is 2nd Man's birthday.  It's 50 something, ha.  

Happy birthday to the man I love!

Thank you for coming along with me on this crazy farm adventure.  I know it's slow going but you are patient and supportive and I can't imagine my life any other way.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Are we going to do this anytime soon?  LOL, no, there is way too much else to do/spend money on. But this is just too pretty not to share.  Love the idea of putting potted and hanging flowers all inside a gazebo like structure. With the open top, it's not really a place for protection from the elements but it sure would be a nice spot to relax and read a book!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


We made some traditional cabbage with bacon and onions using our fresh from the garden cabbage.  There isn' t much of a recipe.  Cabbage, onions, bacon and balsamic vinegary. 

First we cut out the core, the tough center part. Easiest way is to cut in half and then remove a triangle shape at the base. 

We used two of the smaller heads.  Just took a knife and shredded it up.  

Next, dice up a small onion.
Set all aside.

Fry about six slices of bacon until cooked.
Remove it from the pan but leave the bacon drippings.

Add the diced onion and sauté until golden and softened.

Add the sliced up cabbage.  Don't worry if it looks too full, it definitely cooks down. 

Turn it in the skillet so it gets coated in the bacon fat and the onions get distributed throughout. 

Cook about 10 minutes over medium heat until the cabbage is softened and starting to turn golden. Add about 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and stir.  It's a great combination.

Break up the bacon and add while the cabbage mixture is still hot.  Stir a few times to mix everything up in the pan.  

Cabbage and onions with bacon
Dish it up and serve as a side dish. Here we had it with some pork chops and gravy. Oh it's so good.  It's actually good enough to be its own main dish.  We could eat this for lunch or dinner any day.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018


We're constantly amazed how much water can fall from the sky.  

The farm was spared the heaviest rains from Harvey last Summer that inundated Houston and the surrounding areas.  But a couple weeks ago, a few days of heavy rain at the farm caused more standing water than we saw out there after Harvey. 

This is where we normally park.

This is under Barnabas where we want to put an outdoor dining area.  Kind of hard to see but there was standing water everywhere.  We might have to rethink how we want to do things there.  

This was a couple weekends ago when I had to move the mower out for the dealer to pick it up.  I drove through the "driest"part of the yard.

This is the pasture of the property that is directly behind the garden.  Thankfully the garden site was chosen because it is higher.  

This is in one part of the yard.
Notice how deep the one boot is.  

And this was our driveway.  The water naturally runs along the sides and down to the road and then down the hill to elsewhere.  But we're a bit concerned about the driveway in the future.  We'd hate to get stuck.  Oh, speaking of...

The trail cam picked up this.  You see the truck?  That's one truck PULLING another truck and trailer that got stuck after picking up our mower!  Oops!

I parked the mower in the high and dry side of the yard but they slipped over into one of those flooded side areas and got stuck.  

They left these ruts.  Not terrible, we're not upset, I'll just buy a few bags of soil/sand and fill it in.  I'm actually more worried about needing to mow soon and so I need things to dry up and get the mower back so that I CAN mow.  

We're constantly amazed about the rains we get the last few years.  Five years ago it was so dry, we went almost an entire year with no measurable rain.  I'll lave to find some of those pictures.  It's surreal.

And watching what is going on in South Africa is so alarming.  One of our fellow bloggers, Dani from the blog Eco Footprint is currently going through it...she lives near Cape Town and they are approaching Day Zero.  That's the day when they effectively run out of free usable water and will be limited to about 6 gallons per person per day.

That's this much for ALL uses.  It sounds like a lot but it's not just for drinking but also for washing clothes, cleaning, showering, food prep, pets, watering plants, etc.  How we can have so much and other areas have none is just incredible.  Hang in there Dani!  Wish we could send it your way!

Monday, March 12, 2018


It rained Sunday and a front came through that has dropped our overnight temps into the 40's!  Go figure!  They say this will be the last cold snap until next Fall.  Hard to imagine we'll have seven months or more before we ever get that cold again.  

If the Zen Machine doesn't get back from the "doctor" soon, it's going to be a jungle.  Hopefully it will be ready this week...which means this coming weekend will be mowing.  Yay?

The goal this past weekend was to work on the irrigation (though this looks like a mess, ha).  I cut the pieces needed for our "snip n drip" system.  I also had to throw away the four valve manifold (above) because it had cracked in the freeze.  My fault for leaving it outside even after I disconnected the hoses.  Lesson learned.  

This is what we use.  I've blogged about it before, it's the "Snip n Drip" system from Gardeners.com. It's more of a soaker hose set up as opposed to a drip system but it works well for us.  Two things I've learned by trial and error, just keep the pressure low (i.e. don't put the faucet on high) and don't water for long periods of time (it is a "soaker" after all).

They are just SO easy to use.  You cut the regular hose (non watering part between the beds) to length, then cut the soaker (the part in the bed) to length, and screw them both together using this connector.  Just repeat on each section and put an end cap on when you are done with that run. 

This is a picture from last year.  I put the irrigation down after I had planted and put down the straw mulch.  This time I'm going to cover the soaker hoses with the straw. That should keep the direct sun off of them and they'll last longer.  

Dig hose end digital timer
We also needed a new hose end timer.  There are a bunch on the market, many of them with fancy features we won't use.  This is the "new" version of the one we've had for the last few years so we figured why mess with something else when we can get the one that has worked so well for us.  It's got a couple new features that will help, the main one being a battery indicator.  That's important when you are only there once a week.  At least we'll know when it's getting close to time for new batteries so it doesn't run out and stop watering.  

Above is the link (affiliate) to the one we bought. 

Snip n drip irrigation plan
Here is the plan. It always helps me to draw it out and figure out where to put the connectors, which part will be the end of the line, how many connectors to have etc.  While it's drawn out in detail on paper (I'm old fashioned like that, ha), I did this to share a sense of what the plan looks like.  We'll do two runs to cover all the beds we're using. 

This weekend will be PLANTING!

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Look what we saw at the farm...
(as always you can click to enlarge)

This beautiful hawk came to visit us, sitting in a tree in the front yard...

It was so fast, I tried to get some good pics...

Hawk taking off
But it took flight and was gone.  I wanted some in flight pictures but I glanced down at the camera to get the zoom feature ready and looked back up and there was nothing but a small dot in the distance.  

They are fast, but wow they are beautiful creatures, that's for sure!  You would not want to be on the other end of those talons. 

Hope you are having a good weekend.  It's raining today, ugh, but at least we got some things accomplished at the farm yesterday.  We made the most of the time there.  

More on that tomorrow!

Friday, March 9, 2018


During our unusually harsh Winter, I forgot to flip the birdbath over, it filled with water in the rain and then in our 15 degree weather...

...it broke.  And not in several large pieces where it could be glued together.  No, it had to be many small pieces.  I haven't thrown it away yet though, much to 2nd Man's dismay. 

Maybe a future art project? 

And speaking of, any suggestions for this part of it?  This is the base of the birdbath and it just seems too pretty to throw out.

Any thoughts?